Oil on canvas, 20" by 26" (25 3/4" by 32" framed), possibly but not necessarily an Illinois subject, by an Illinois-born artist who went on to notoriety in California impressionist Plein Air painting, ARTHUR HILL GILBERT (1894-1970). This is a rather early (likely circa 1925) work. Gilbert was born in Mount Vernon, Illinois, graduating from the Evanston Academy in 1913 and then going on to two years at nearby Northwestern University. In 1917 he attended the United States Naval Academy Officer's School at Annapolis and then served in the Navy in France.
After the war and his military service, Gilbert moved to Southern California around 1920. After studying in Los Angeles at the Otis Art Institute, he received further art training in Paris and London. After some nine years in Southern California, the artist moved to the Monterey Peninsula in 1929. It was there that he truly hit his artistic stride over the next thirty years, painting the beautiful coastal and hill landscapes of the Central Coast, soon winning a prize for his landscape oil at the National Academy. Significantly Gilbert was a founding member of the Carmel Art Association and the Bohemian Club. The artist's paintings have sold to over $60,000 at auctions of fine California paintings. An old, tattered and faded printed original label ("ORIGINAL OIL PAINTING BY ARTHUR HILL GILBERT"), complete with the artist's ink handwriting, remains glued to the back of the canvas. There is a title (apparently, "The Willows") and some more writing after that---I think it may possibly read "Evanston IL"...at bottom of the label is written "To Mr & Mrs ( ) Paige (or, "Large", or "Lange")/with best wishes...." The work **IS SIGNED** and dated at lower left corner, though very, very indistinctly (and difficult to photograph). Clearly, as the images demonstrate, the painting will require professional restoration, including possibly a reline. There is general soiling and stable craquelure; a large reverse patch is seen, corresponding to an old amateurish repair on the left side of the landscape; a 3" ragged roughly horizontal tear is present at center in the trees, and there are two other short tears, one about 1 1/2" and another about 3/4", as shown in the images. Once restored the painting will regain its original simple beauty.